Years ago, shortly after coming out, I was dating a girl who was a little older than me (fine, maybe she was more than just a little older than me, but still not as nearly as old as SB makes it sound whenever she comes up in conversation). Anyway, we were talking about me coming out to my friends and family and I remember her mocking me and asking me if I had just gathered everyone up to make a big announcement or something. Of course that’s not really how things went but I did have many –too many in fact- conversations about my sexuality. The whole thing seemed absolutely normal and almost inevitable to me: I was sharing a part of me with the people I knew and loved, and I had no idea why that appeared almost funny to her. The next logical question from my part was: don’t you ever come out to people?
Turned out she didn’t. Not that she was hiding or even trying to pass as straight, simply she wouldn’t go up to people and tell them that she liked boobs –that would be weird, now, wouldn’t it?-. She told me she would just wait for it to come up, or maybe make a comment that would make people understand without actually saying it. This seemed total bullshit to me when she said it. I told her that I thought she had some sort of internalized homophobia or something which, I now realize, is absolutely absurd.
Probably because I was kind of new to the whole concept, perhaps because it’s just different coming out to people that you knew before, when you were still in the closet, but I just didn’t get it. Now that it’s been a while, and I’m more used to being out, I know that she had a point.
First of all, that feeling that you have around your friends and family when you are in the closet, like you owe them the truth, like they won’t really know the real you until they know it, is completely unjustified when you meet new people while being already out. I mean, assuming that people are straight is normal –I do it too, after all, they always are the majority, unless you are walking down Liberty Avenue-, but not saying you’re gay is not hiding, unless you’re deliberately letting them think otherwise. I mean, there’s nothing worse than those people who go Hi, I’m Bob, I’m gay!.
So how are you supposed to come out, is there an appropriate time to wait after which, if it doesn’t come up naturally, you just have to say it? Because, even though it probably shouldn’t come up before your job or what you studied in college, you have to admit it could get all kinds of awkward if, after knowing a person for months and that person assuming you’re straight –as all people who aren’t SB do-, you tell them that it’s not the case. That’s pretty much the situation I’ve involuntarily put myself into with my roommates: since they’re guys they’ve never really asked me a direct question about my love life or anything like that, and it’s not like one evening at dinner I could be like Pass the salt? I’m gay, by the way!. So now I’m not really out and I’m not really in and let me tell you, being in closet limbo really sucks.
I guess that what you need to do in these situations is trying to bring it up without actually bringing it up. Let me explain: you don’t need to proclaim your love for lady parts (or your lack of love for lady parts) but maybe you can try to ask others personal questions that could lead to them asking you personal questions. Ok, easier said than done, especially if you’re like me and you don’t really ask personal questions, but it’s worth a try, right?